Entertainment

Here’s Your Latino Movie Guide To The Tribeca Film Festival

We’re so excited for this year’s Tribeca Film Festival. There’s so much going on, and we’re eagerly anticipating all of the Latino films and filmmakers who will be on the big screen in New York City. The festival that takes place April 24 through May 5 features films that take on important issues affecting our community including topics such as immigration and the recovery of Puerto Rico.

The festival will also feature films directed by Latinx directors from around the world. The feature program includes 103 films from 124 filmmakers, and 42 of them are first-time filmmakers. The films also highlight the work of women — 40 percent of the feature films have one or more women directors, and 29 percent of the feature films are directed by people of color, while 13 percent of the feature films are by individuals who identify as LGBTQ.

Aside from films, there are also some exciting panels featuring director Guillermo Del Toro, Queen Latifah, and a special talk on the 25th anniversary of “In Living Color,” which includes creators and actors from the show. Here are a couple of films that caught our eye.

“After Maria,” directed Nadia Hallgren.

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Nadia Hallgren, award-winning filmmaker and cinematographer from the Bronx, will present her documentary short film titled “After Maria.”

The film centers around Puerto Rican women “forced to flee the island after Hurricane Maria have bonded like family in a FEMA hotel in the Bronx. They seek stability in their new life as forces try to pull them apart.” This film will also be released on Netflix.

“I Am Human,” directed by Elena Gaby.

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Elena Gaby, a Brazilian-American filmmaker, and producer, who’s been on the movie radar since she won the Best Student Documentary in 2014 at the Cannes Film Festival, is bringing her feature film “I Am Human.”

According to the festival’s website, the film dives into the question “what it means to be human.” The movie “offers a glimpse of what this technical evolution entails, following three individuals with neurological disorders: one rendered tetraplegic after a bike accident, one battling Parkinson’s Disease, and one with late-onset blindness.”

“The Gasoline Thieves,” directed by Edgar Nieto.

Instagram/@huachicolero_movie

Mexican director Edgar Nieto presents his first feature film “The Gasoline Thieves” (“Huachicolero”). The film looks at Mexico’s increasing gas shortage and tells the story of Lalo, a 14-year-old, who seeks out to work as a huachicoleros (people who steal gasoline and re-sell it) to get a few bucks to buy a smartphone. The dangerous and illegal job, however, quickly takes over his life.

“Two/One,” directed by Juan Cabral.

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“Narcos” actor Boyd Holbrook stars in the feature film “Two/One” as a ski jumping champion is leading a parallel life with another man, in another country. They are both connected in ways they are unaware of. “While one sleeps, the other is awake. The world waits for an impending moment; They must unite.” This film is directed by Argentine writer and director Juan Cabral.

“Clementine,” starring Otmara Marrero.

Instagram/@clementinethemovie

Cuban-American actress Otmara Marrero stars in “Clementine” a feature film that is being described as a psychological drama and sexual coming-of-age story.

Marrero plays Karen a woman looking for a solid relationship. When she breaks into her ex’s house, she meets Lana who instantly lures her in with her charm.

Other Latino films and Latino-directed films include: “Carlito Leaves Forever,” directed by Quentin Lazzarotto; “The Dishwasher,” directed by Nick Hartanto and Sam Roden; “Driving Lessons,” directed by Marziyeh Riahi; “Hard-ish Bodies,” directed by Mike Carreon; “Night Swim,” directed by Victoria Rivera; “La Noria,” directed by Carlos Baena; “PeiXes,” directed by Juan Carlos Pena Babío; “A Tale of Two Kitchens,” directed by Trisha Ziff; “Lady Hater,” directed by Alexandra Barreto; “Initials SG,” by Daniel Garcia; and “This Is Not Berlin,” directed by Hari Sama.

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READ: Miami Film Festival Cancels Screening of Immigration Doc After ICE Detained The Movie’s Main Character

Mattel Just Dropped A Barbie With Vitiligo And Another With Alopecia And This Has Me Tearing Up Y’all

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Mattel Just Dropped A Barbie With Vitiligo And Another With Alopecia And This Has Me Tearing Up Y’all

Mattel / Twitter

The maker of the iconic Barbie doll just announced the launch of a lineup of diverse dolls featuring new skin tones, wheelchairs, and body types. The latest Barbie additions are a doll with the skin condition Vitiligo and another with a gold prosthetic leg —and we’re here for all this diversity. 

“More skin tones! More body types! More unique looks” read the caption.

The new Barbie pals doll be part of the Fashionistas collection and it’s being labeled as the American toy company’s most diverse line.

“What makes us different, makes us beautiful”

The line features dolls with vitiligo, no hair, darker skin tones, in a wheelchair and a wide range of body types. These dolls are part of Barbie’s 2020 releases for its Fashionistas line, which, over the past five years, has introduced more than 170 looks showcasing different identities around the world in hopes of representing global diversity and inclusivity, according to a press release from Mattel. 

Mattel launched a new Barbie doll with the condition vitiligo, which causes pigmentation loss in the skin. 

To create the doll with vitiligo, Barbie worked with a dermatologist to ensure the condition was accurately portrayed. Viitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their pigment. Mattel said in a statement that a prototype of the vitiligo toy, which debuted on the Barbie Instagram page last year, became its most “liked” post ever.

Speaking of the Barbie with no hair, the company said:

“If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line.”

Last year, a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair joined the Fashionistas range. 

The then 12-year-old Jordan Reeves, who co-founded the nonprofit Born Just Right — which develops “creative solutions that help kids with disabilities live a more enjoyable life” — helped inspire a doll with a prosthetic limb. Barbie’s 2019 Fashionistas line was also the first time it included a doll that uses a wheelchair.  Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line offered a variety of appearances, including braided hair texture and more realistic body types (smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms).

On Twitter people are happy about the new dolls.

Some are excited to see themselves reflected in Barbie form for the first time. “Heeeyy! That’s pretty sweet. I’ve had #vitiligo since I was little, and no one knew what it was,” wrote one Twitter user, “In recent years, I’ve seen high fashion models with it, and now this.. very cool.”

People with Vitiligo are finally feeling seen

Visibility for vitiligo is getting better thanks to models like Winnie Harlow and Amy Deanna. Due in large part to recent exposure to vitiligo through mainstream media, general understanding about and attitudes toward this condition are changing.

Perhaps the most well-known current face of vitiligo is Chantelle Brown-Young

The black fashion model, activist, and vitiligo spokesperson is also known professionally as Winnie Harlow. Winnie was diagnosed with vitiligo in childhood, and she revealed she was teased and bullied and at one point contemplated suicide. “The continuous harassment and the despair that [vitiligo] brought on my life was so unbearably dehumanizing that I wanted to kill myself,” she disclosed.

After competing on America’s Next Top Model in 2014, Winnie Harlow became a household name.

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Winnie redefined global standards of beauty and, in her own words, accepting the differences that make us unique and authentic. She went on to speak at the Dove Self-Esteem Project panel at the 2015 Women in the World London Summit and was presented with the Role Model award at the Portuguese GQ Men of the Year event that same year.

Fashion brand Missguided unveiled a diverse range of mannequins in 2018—including one with Vitiligo. 

The collection of mannequins included female figures of different ethnicities, in addition to highlighting skin conditions such as stretch marks and vitiligo.

Mattel is leading the charge for representation in the toy industry.

The American toy maker has incorporated more diversity in its Barbie range by offering dolls with different skin shades, eye colors, hairstyles and clothing. In 2017, the company introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab.

Though Barbie dolls have long been overwhelmingly white and skinny, Barbie has made strides during the past five years to diversify. 

Previously, Barbie dolls have drawn criticism for upholding a slim, white, domestic ideal. In 2019 though, more than half its doll selections were inclusive. According to a Mattel spokesperson, since 2015, the more than 170 new looks for Barbie have included 5 body types, 22 skin tones, 76 hair styles, 94 hair colors, and 13 eye colors. 

Consumers have largely responded to these choices enthusiastically.

A curvy black Fashionista with an afro hairstyle was the top-selling doll during almost every week in 2019. “We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them,” says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and its dolls portfolio. 

Walter Mercado Was An Iconic Astrologer And A Gender Nonconforming Legend And Now There’s A Documentary About Him Coming To Netflix

Entertainment

Walter Mercado Was An Iconic Astrologer And A Gender Nonconforming Legend And Now There’s A Documentary About Him Coming To Netflix

Waltermercadotv/ Instagram

Walter Mercado was a source of wisdom. His horoscopes eased many Latinxs into New Years, months and days full of new possibilities and opportunities. Equal parts Oprah, Liberace, and Mr. Rogers, Walter was a celebrated daily part of Latino culture—until last November, when he sadly passed away. But his legacy lives on, and this year, he’s getting his own Netflix documentary. Here’s everything we know so far about “Mucho Mucho Amor.”

Late television personality and astrologer Walter Mercado is the subject of a Netflix documentary.

Extravagant Puerto Rican astrologer, psychic, and gender nonconforming legend Walter Mercado charmed the world for over 30 years with his televised horoscopes. And this summer, a the feature-length documentary based on the life and work of the iconic astrologer, “Mucho Mucho Amor” will stream on Netflix. And it’s scheduled to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

The film was selected to premiere at the 2020 Sundance Festival.

The independent-film festival announced its lineup earlier this month, and Miami is well represented among the 118 films selected. Although Mucho Mucho Amor might seem timely in light of the astrologer’s passing in November, Tabsch and his codirector and coproducer — Cristina Constantini and Alex Fumero — have been working on it for more than two years.

The film explores Walter’s complex story.

“Mucho Mucho Amor”, follows Mercado’s story, from the rural sugarcane fields of Puerto Rico to international astrology superstardom, rising above homophobia and the heteronormative beliefs of the Latino society with a message of love and hope. “If you think about the way he came on television, starting from 50 years ago,” said one of the film’s directors, Kareem Tabsch in an interview with WLRN, “he blended gender expressions — the masculine with the feminine on Latino television, which is very macho-centric.”

The film was directed by two Latinx co-directors.

Kareem Tabsch and Cristina Costantini (Science Fair, Festival Favorite Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival) both set out to create “Mucho Mucho Amor” as a love letter to Walter Mercado.  “He was uniquely his own. In a very macho Latino culture, he presented his nonbinary gender expression, and it was so brave,” Tabsch said to Miami New Times.

“Mucho Mucho Amor” unpicks how Walter Mercado became an icon of gender-fluidity for an entire generation.

The filmmakers, who grew up watching him with their abuelitos, craft a film with levity and a playful spirit. Light-years ahead of his time, Walter has become a nostalgic cult icon of self-expression and positivity for the gender-fluid youth of today.

And indeed, Walter Mercado induces millennial Latinos into deep nostalgia.

For Latino audiences, Mercado also represents a form of warm nostalgia. “You think of Walter today, and so many of us think of our abuelitas,” the Cuban-American filmmaker says in an interview with Miami New Times. “The memory takes us back to childhood. It takes us back to sitting with our grandparents. In making this film, we realized that was a universal experience [for Latinos].”

The director also spoke about the significance of premiering their film at Sundance.

The fact that an international film festival of Sundance’s prominence has recognized a film such as Mucho Mucho Amor is an important win for not only Tabsch and his team but also Latino culture. “It’s a huge recognition not just for Miami film, but for film created by, for, and about Latinos,” Tabsch says. “We’re telling our own stories.”

The film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24 and runs through January 31. It will be available on Netflix this summer.